Why did you make this album?
I created my album for people who need authentic, honest songs with pure emotional content. Like me! I took notice in the feedback I was getting from my song “Real Love” --- I heard repeatedly that it was moving, organically beautiful, and made you want to fall in love. I realized, as an artist; it is my responsibility to provide music in that lane. I’m not just a singer; I am a healer and minister, too. Why give you one song when I can give you fourteen?
What inspired the title 'Pronounced Lee’?
Since my album is my testimony, it could have easily been a self-titled project. But people say my name wrong. ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a forgivable mistake if you’ve read it once. But after a while, it becomes a matter of respect. If someone can pronounce Constantine, or Socrates, or Shakespeare, you can pronounce my one syllable name correctly. I have to teach people how to pronounce my name before I can have a self-titled album or else everyone would be talking about someone who isn’t actually me. You are disrespecting yourself when you allow people add letters and sounds to your name. So that’s who I made the name of my album a lesson.
If you could do a remix to one song on the album and anyone as your guest feature, what song what it would be and who would you have on it?
I would love to make “Sistah” a duet with India.Arie. I’d appreciate the Weekend’s spin on “More Than I Could”. Ultimately, if Bobby Humphrey decided to come out of retirement and redo the entire LP, adding more flute and teaching me her game in the process, I would faint.
Who helped make this album what it is? Writers, Producers, Muses, Support System, Etc.
I wrote all of my lyrics and they came first before anything—-I must make that clear. I don’t write to beats. No one writes for me. I invented the melodies and wrote my story first. Once that was set, the climate of the song chose the instrumentalists and producers. It’s not whom you know, but whom you connect with. Who aligns with your vision and decides that they want to be apart of your dream, too. Everyone who performed on this LP, have been heaven sent. I’m honored to have the King, Asante “Tut” Amin produce/compose “Love Yah!” He was born in New Orleans and gave all of that down bottom on this track. It’s a juke joint and sounds like the best parts of the dirty south. “Skin” was perfect for my peaceful and loving homie/producer/composer Brian Fender, who added his Scorpio, island vibes. I wanted something I could meditate to, and he delivered. He played every instrument on “Skin,” too! I didn’t know Warren Fields beforehand, but I knew he was the best I could find when he understood my weird time signature in “Know Me”. He not only gave it what I asked for, but his expertise and pure emotion could match the distress of my greatest heartbreak. It was allowance to practically cry on the track without telling me to fall back in sake of the piano. He enveloped my tone and let my voice lead. Which is what is supposed to happen in R&B music.
What is your favorite track? Why?
Well it changes everyday ---Right now it’s “Inspiration.” It sounds like South Carolina: where I spent most of my life. It’s a reminder of where I came from, where I started, and why I still pursue music as a career. I dedicate that song to the network of supporters that I’ve had since day one: my parents especially. I was inspired by long time, hometown friend, Dane Smith after meeting his daughters for the first time. “Inspiration” is my current anthem. Let your inspiration help you become more inspiration.
When did you know you wanted to make music?
I saw Mariah Carey perform “Can’t Let Go” live on TV when I was like 4? Maybe? I got chills. I was rather young, and I didn’t understand the content of the song but I knew her voice was a force. Her voice was was larger than Mariah Carey herself. At that moment, I suddenly felt that I had the capacity to move people through music the way she moved me. Overtime, I became obsessed with making people “feel” music that there wasn’t any question of what else I could be doing. Every plan B (other jobs) failed. Plan A (music) always worked out.
What is your dream now that you just accomplished this dream?
I have so many dreams and tons of ideas. I’m not certain that this dream is complete until I travel afar and perform my music spreading my sounds. Like I said before, music is a ministry. Like every great spiritual leader: Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad—-they all traveled sharing their teachings, touching people individually one by one. An artists dream isn’t fully accomplished until they do the same.
Have you ever been Stereotype'd? Tell us more.
Yes. As a black woman I am probably the most stereotype’d demographic. Someone once told me that it’s uncommon for me to be 1. Sweet 2. Intelligent 3. Talented and 4. “That” pretty. I should have something wrong with me because allegedly most black women do have some sort of flaw. But I know plenty of women of all races who are just as sweet, intelligent, talented and beautiful as I am. And just because we are of a certain race, doesn’t mean we cannot be all of those qualities without being angry. It’s actually normal to find black women that are beautiful inside and out based on my experience. Women can work together and we do get along. We aren’t whores: we are queens. Being Stereotype’d is basically what my song “Sistah” is about.
Have you ever broke a Stereotype someone had of you? Tell us about it
Everyday. I am leading by example and thriving. Growing more as an artist is breaking my stereotype. I don’t have many memories of a day of Middle School or High School where someone, whether a student or teacher told me that I was ugly and/or that I couldn’t sing. Their bitter advice was that I stay in my small town and just be a teacher. Probably because that’s what people have told them. There’s nothing wrong with being a teacher—-but that’s what was expected of me upon graduating High School. So just by me living in NYC, performing, recording and being my dreams and am breaking the stereotype. Crossing one thing after the next off of my long-term music goal list is breaking the Stereotype.